Thursday, November 13, 2008

YALSA Literature Symposium Wrap-Up

This weekend I attended the First YALSA Young Adult Literature Symposium in Nashville, TN. I had a super time and learned so much.

I have had a couple of days to mull it over and am excited to wrap up my weekend with you!

The theme for this year's symposium was "How We Read Now." I attended several sessions wrapped around this theme.

Session One: "Thrilling Young Adults: How to Keep the Attention of Today's Teens.
In this session we discussed how young adult literature has changed over the years. No longer will teens sit through a book with long descriptive narratives (unless the setting is in a fictional world that must be described). They want action-packed, fast paced books that hold their attention.

The panelist for this session was Amy Alessio, author and teen coordinator for the Schaumburg Township Library in Illinois, Margaret Peterson Haddix, renowned author and has won numerous awards for her books, Deborah Noyes Wayshak, editor for Candlewick Press and author, and author Patrick Jones.

Session Two: "Reading: It's Not Just About Books Anymore"
In this session, Linda Braun discussed a number of ways we read without using paper or conventional means. Think about it: you are reading this blog, may read text messages, use a Kindle or another electronic reader or even your cell phone. Braun demonstrated a number of other web resources that can be used to reach kids in this technological age.

We discussed Voice Thread presentations, a web based presentation tool where you can record your voice over the slides and all can see. Some other tools we discussed was Twitter and tumblr -microblog tools, wordle-a website to create very cool word clouds, and wordia-a place where you can view and post videos of word definitions.

Click below to check out the presentation that was presented during this session using Voice Thread.

Session Three: Fandom, Fan Life, and Participatory Culture
In this session, Elizabeth Burns and Carlie Webber discussed fandom.

I had no idea what this concept was, and surprised to know that I am a member of several fandoms! Basically, a fandom is a group who love something and get together to discuss or celebrate that thing. Whether it be through discussion boards, websites, conferences, or whatever, it is neat to see people get behind a book, tv show or movie and dissect it to its core. They used the popular novel Twilight by Stephanie Meyer to illustrate this concept.

We also explored how we can use this in the library and I got all sorts of fun Teen program ideas to pass along. (Twilight Prom anyone??)

Session Four: "Just Keepin' It Real: Teen Reading Out of the Mainstream"
Rollie Welch, Collection Manager at the Cleveland Public Library and former Teen Services Librarian discussed inner city teens and street lit in this very informative session.

Rollie gave a lot of great booktalks and even tested our knowledge in a fun game of Jeopardy! I came away with an extensive list of books to order for our library!

Session Five: Quickest of YALSA's Quick Picks
Diana Herald and Diane Monnier discuss the process of YALSA's Quick Pick Awards and then booktalked a number of the titles on those lists or those being nominated for this year's list.

We had a special treat of hearing David Lubar, who has written a number of books and having a couple be on the Quick Picks list. Lubar is quite hilarious and I'm excited to order some of his books, as well as some on the Quick Picks list that we do not have, for our library quite soon.

We also were armed with titles to hand reluctant readers when they say "I don't like to read!" or "I'm too busy with school!" and how to spot a quick pick book. Very awesome.

As you can see, I learned a lot and am armed with more knowledge to efficiently do my job. A highlight of the weekend was getting to visit with some of my classmates from UT-Knoxville who were there as well.

Thanks to YALSA for a fun weekend, the books, the food, and the cool loot. Check out this cool bag they gave us at sign in:

The next Literature symposium is in Albuquerque, NM in 2010. Road trip anyone??

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